Letter from Dr. Paul HassanYou are here: Home » News Detail
22nd March 2013
Dr Paul Hassan, chair of the Healthier Together programme board
In a letter to stakeholders Paul Hassan, Chair of the Healthier Together Programme Board, said:
"Further to my letter of 8 February, I am writing with a final update as the Healthier Together South East Midlands programme finishes at the end of this month.
"Over the last year six Clinical Working Groups, comprising over 200 clinicians, have worked to develop proposals that will improve safety, quality and clinical outcomes for patients. On 8th March 2013 the Clinical Senate, which is made up of senior clinicians, formally signed off the work of the six Clinical Working Groups which will shortly be available on the programme’s website. The Clinical Senate final report is also now complete.
"As you will be aware, from April 1st, five new Clinical Commissioning Groups will take responsibility for the commissioning and planning of health services. Local hospitals have also made important decisions about their own future. Bedford Hospital has signalled its intention to find a partner to help it achieve Foundation Trust status and Northampton General and Kettering General Hospital have announced their intention to hold discussions on partnership working up to and including possible merger.
"From April 2013, the Healthier Together programme will be taken forward locally by the Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) in the north, middle and south of the South East Midlands. CCGs recognise that the status quo is not sustainable clinically or financially and remain absolutely committed to taking the work of Healthier Together forward.
"This next stage of this work will build upon the work of the six Clinical Working Groups and the Clinical Senate which will be used to inform and identify local solutions. CCGs, acute trusts and local communities will work together to determine how the recommendations from the first phase of the programme should be implemented locally to provide the best possible service for local people. More clinicians at a local level will be engaged in addition to those who have been involved in the Clinical Working Groups and there will continue to be strong commitment to patient and public engagement in this process.
"CCGs have confirmed their plans for how this next phase of work will be coordinated locally:
"In Northamptonshire Nene and Corby CCGs will work closely together and with the acute hospitals to develop proposals for consultation in summer 2013. The programme of work will be coordinated through a Northamptonshire Programme Management Office (PMO) which will also oversee the development of closer working between the two acute hospitals.
"Bedfordshire and Milton Keynes CCGs plan to take a more incremental approach to the planning of service changes in order to prioritise those services where there is the most pressing clinical need. The programme of work will be coordinated through two separate PMOs one based in each CCG, with joint working between the two where this is required. This work will run alongside the organisational change process for Bedford Hospital.
"In Luton the next phase of work will be taken forward as part of the ‘Healthier Luton’ strategy, a key element of which is the redevelopment of the Luton and Dunstable Hospital site. The work programme will be coordinated by the ‘Healthier Luton’ programme.
"These local arrangements reflect local priorities and circumstances and will ensure that the proposals which are developed meet local needs. Timescales for consultation and implementation of service change will be tailored to meet the needs of the local population.
"The five CCGs will also continue to work together with Specialist Commissioners to determine how more specialist services, which require only one or two sites across the whole of the South East Midlands, should be configured.
"Finally, I would like to thank you for your interest and involvement in the programme to date. I hope that you will remain involved in the next phase of work and work with your CCG to help identify the best solutions for local populations."